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Friday, September 10, 2010

Well the good news is that after 48 hours of rest and regular painkillers, Lisa's finally showing a bit of backbone and is no longer taking her injury lying down. Although I think an aerobics class might still be out of the question. So now that I'm no longer required to be a spineless jelly-fist by rubbing ibuprofen into her back, I can return to an incident which happened to me on Tuesday.

I spent the day working at Horsham Hospital, which for me means taking the scenic route up the A281 through Cowfold, a charming little village which used to be a load of bullocks. Further up the road however, a lady driver pulled out of the B2110 turning near Lower Beeding, and I proceeded to follow her all the way to Horsham. Which would have been fine if her car had been capable of topping 30mph. Unfortunately, the beeding woman seemed incapable of finding the accelerator, and I crawled the last four miles into town at a snail's pace. That's if snails can do thirty in a 60mph limit.

Anyhoo, I thought nothing of it at the time (actually that's not strictly true - I thought quite a lot of things, but none of them are repeatable), and the lady and I parted company near Horsham station, where I turned left at the roundabout and she carried straight on.

Eight hours later, however, I saw the last of my patients, plodded back to my car, drove along the road to the roundabout by the station, and who should pull out directly in front of me, but the exact same woman in her speed-restricted car. I then proceeded to follow her like some kind of funeral procession on a low speed car chase all the way back down the A281 to Lower Beeding.

Bearing in mind the amount of traffic in a big town like Horsham during the weekday rush hours, the chances of me ending up directly behind the same car in both directions must be astronomical. A few seconds earlier or later and we'd have missed each other. It can't even be that we work the same hours - I just happened to finish seeing my last patient at that particular time. Any other day and it would have been different.

My first thought was that she was some kind of stalker, but to be honest, the fact that I was following her seems to rule that one out. Although she did keep a close eye on me in her rear view mirror. I'd like to think she might have been panicked by the synchronicity of my presence, but if she was, it didn't make her drive any faster.

What I really need is some kind of mathematical genius (or idiot savant) who can calculate the odds of that incident occurring naturally. Unfortunately the only person I know who fits that description is currently driving through Europe with a sore throat. So I decided to have a go myself.

I started by checking the Horsham page on Wikipedia to find out how many people drive into the town on an average weekday. And to be honest, that's pretty much where I finished. The page doesn't contain that kind of information, although I did discover that "there are no official homeless people living in Horsham". It's the only place in Britain where the Big Issue seller is a newsagent.

Interestingly, however, under 'Notable Living Residents', it lists "Roy Whiting - Convicted child killer of 7 year old Sarah Payne". Which is surprising news. I'd assumed he'd be in prison somewhere. I hope he hasn't bought himself a wig and started cruising the streets at low speed. I could be dead by Monday.


Dave said...

97,453,885½ to 1.

You've probably bet on horses with worse odds.